A good way to start thinking about seedheads is to look at them in nature. Take a winter walk in an environment where you can find a wide variety of wildflowers: paths along the edges of woodland, grassland such as meadow or prairie, or even waste ground in areas of urban or industrial dereliction. See how many attractive or interesting-looking seedheads you can find. How many of them are worth picking to use in dried-flower arrangements back at home? How many might even be worth including in the garden, if you could be sure that they would take to cultivation? Take time to look for interesting shapes and forms, and notice how seedheads often make an impact because you see lots of them at once, and how they look in different kinds of light. Notice in particular how some are very dark, others very light; how some have hard, definite shapes and others are wispy and nebulous, and how these different characteristics can combine to form very attractive compositions.
Our aim is to encourage gardeners, garden designers, and landscape architects to consider how they can use plants with interesting seedheads in their work. The emphasis is very much on herbaceous perennials, for it is these that form the largest group of plants with good seedheads among the ornamental hardy flora. Seedheads — like flowers — form a substantial part of their visual impact, whereas they are little more than extra ornamentation on those woody plants which have them. The seedheads of herbaceous plants can also make a substantial contribution to the overall visual impact of a garden or other planted space from mid-autumn to the end of winter — and as such should be regarded as a major source of material for the planting designer.